I hate the year 1856 but I love big names and great games. Ratings and review

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Liverpool started well. Torres went close early after kolo fell over. Shortly after Fabianski made a great double save.

Arsenal looked uncomfortable in the 4-5-1, Nik didn't have the pace to make it work and Cesc admitted earlier in the week he didn't have the pace to play in the hole. Why play players in uncomfortable positions?

Torres continued to batter our goal but our keeper continued to keep him out. Silvestre did his best to get a red card by wiping out Kuyt, Howard Webb decided against giving even a freekick. Was he going soft in his old age?

Arsenal offered little going forward, bar a volley that was fizzed wide by Cesc.

Liverpool continued to probe, Torres firing a free shot at Fabianski... who saved again. Two minutes later he saved at the feet of Benayoun... then shortly after Nasri cleared off the line.

Arshavin touched the ball. That point is important, because it took until 30 minutes were on the clock for it to happen.

Arsenal were being pounded by Liverpool... it was like watching a stoic boxer taking a beating... refusing to drop despite the intense bombardment of punches he's receiving. The beauty of boxing is that it only takes one lapse in concentration for the dominant boxer to be hit by a sucker punch... football is equally unfair...

Nasri cut Cesc in, Cesc beat the offside trap... cut the ball back to Arshavin who bounded into the box in a Freddy-esque manner and buried it in off the bar! Against all the odds... Arsenal were one up! Andy Gray said it was offside, what a oaf. This is why I normally watch the game with 20 people, I can't hear his boring anti-Arsenal ramblings. Did anyone else enjoy hearing him when it was proved Cesc was onside? Priceless, in a mastercard kind of way...

Liverpool continued to press and hammer the goal, Arsenal managed to finish the first round battered but on top due to a 36th minute flooring of Liverpool.

So, at half time... I'd say Song was having a blinder, Denilson 'My stats don't flatter me' Neves was having another shocker and Arsenal were yet to shift out of neutral... we had to do better in the second half, another half like that could see Fabianski come down with a bad case of 'shell shock'.

The first half started, Sagna shanked a cross... Kuyt picked it up, had one go at a cross, messed it up, got it back again and chipped a nice ball to the back post where Torres was to head it back across goal. I hate strikers that can finish...

Shortly after, more back post shenanigans when a testing cross was delivered in... Sagna made a shambles of it, someone got a touch on it and Fabianski failed to keep it out... 2-1... Liverpool took a well deserved lead... were we ready to accept the knock out blow? Were we hell...

Off went Denilson 'My stats got into a fight and beat up the world' Neves... and on came Theo... finally, 4-4-2! Finally we looked a threat!

Fabianski hit a low goal kick... so low Arshavin could head it on... Bendtner didn't make it... but Arshavin managed to pick up the bad clearance... ran on 5 yards, looked up and rifled into the top corner! Amazing goal... outrageous... that is what we paid £17million for!

It wasn't over though... Nasri was involved in the third with some good interplay with Arshavin...  who was found alone, in the box... there was only going to be one outcome... goal! Arsenal were winning... the resurgence was on...

Liverpool weren't finished... Torres picked up the ball on the 18 yard box... faked... shifted... buried it... 3-3...

Arsenal gained possession... Song moved forward... played Nik in... Nik finished... the lino flagged offside...

At this moment in time, all I was thinking about was how many times we'd been robbed of the title unfairly... Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink for Leeds in 99... Bolton equalising in 2003... I wanted Liverpool to feel my pain!

They went closest. Torres had his header cleared off the line by Gibbs. Nasri hit an inaccurate shot wide when he had time, Theo ambitiously skied the ball... something was brewing, which way was the game going to go?

Arsenal concede a corner... Fabianski punches it out... Theo latches on... powers down the pitch, with Arshavin chasing him... it was 2 versus 2... Theo played a delightful ball into Arshavin, who looked up, and spanked it into the top corner! Big names give you big performances... this guy proves money buys happiness, excitement, and magic. This guy spits in the face of people who believe spending more than £15million on a player only ever gets you a 'Veron'.

4 goals... he had successfully eclipsed Baptista as my favourite Arsenal player of all time! ALL HAIL ARSHAVIN!

Sadly... our shocking defence gifted Liverpool a shocking goal 2 minutes later... abysmal and disappointing. What the hey... it was a mighty fine game and 4th was as good as ours if we held on. Cesc managed to put the ball in the net again... but it was offside... Liverpool made a claim for a hand ball... the score finished 4-4.

The slug fest had finished, and a controversial draw was awarded by the corrupt 'anything can happen in football' judges.

However, if you want to put a positive spin on a 4-4 draw... Imagine offiside didn't exist... we'd have won 6-4... damn the offside rule... damn the year 1856.

Ratings

Fabianski: His cock up in the semi final could have ruined his confidence but thankfully he is mentally stronger than that... he was mostly immense today and he deserves a lot of credit. His second half wasn't the best, but the defence was shambolic. 8.5

Gibbs: I thought he played ok. Considering his age, I thought he shamed Sagna... 6.5

Sagna: Woeful game for a top professional. I'd say he was at fault for 2 of the goals... but anyone is better than Eboue. 4

Toure: Tweedle Dee did not have a great game... He was nervous, sloppy and lost. Not good. 5

Silvestre: Tweedle Dum was even more disappointing... I'd expect more of a seasoned pro. I can't really be bothered to elaborate, most of you saw. Lets just say if Silvestre was a word, he'd be 'poo'. 5

Song: Superb performance from our Cameroonian. He was all over the park, jockeying players wide, winning balls in the air and passing very well. He even set up Nik's ruled out goal. 9

Denilson: You've heard about his stats right? They were invited to premiere of Star Trek two nights ago, but refused... claiming to be so famous, they were above that sort of nonsense. Jokes aside, he was awful tonight... an unnecessary pick for me. Song was more than capable of doing the holding role on his own. 5

Cesc: Played in his least favourite position in the first half... and it showed. He really isn't suited to that role and I can't fathom why he is put there? Anyway, when we reverted back to 4-4-2, he really started to play, sitting deeper, picking out passes, keeping our football flowing nicely. 7

Nasri: I think that was one of his best away performances for the club. He linked in well with the attack, mucked in with the defence and started the move for two goals. I've been harsh on him recently, but only because I know he can do better. Tonight was a step in the right direction. 7.5

Arshavin:

Presenter: Andre have you ever scored 4 goals in a match before?

Andre: No never, only twice in Russia.

Ok, so he rectified his mistake, but it was still funny. The Russian was hardly involved in the first half until he scored his goal, then the second half he came alive when the 4-4-2 began. His finishing was exceptional, his technique was amazing and his goals were beauties. A superstar has landed, worship at will. 10

Bendtner: Atrocious performance from my special friend. I think it's unfair that he only seems to get a run out on his own up front, it can't be good for his development can it? However, that doesn't excuse the sloppy passing and the poor positional play. A bad day for the big Dane... 5

Subs:

Theo: Another player I've been giving a rough ride lately. He came on and opened the game up. His attacking presence brought width and space to the game and caused Liverpool alsorts of problems. His run for the Arshavin goal was a bit disappointing... he did that last year... get a new move Theo, please, that one is getting tedious. 8

Diaby: Brought onto protect the lead, sadly there was nothing he could do to prevent the inept defence from leaking another goal. 6

So in conclusion, I'll take that. This is the point I was trying to make over the weekend... I don't mind dropping points or losing, providing we give it our best shot. Song was immense today, Arshavin was sublime when given the ball and Nasri was effective and troublesome... why couldn't they have played against the Chav's?

Lets hope the coach has learned from this and takes the game to the Mancs... we have the quality to play 4-4-2 Arsene, trust in the team you've been telling us to have faith in all year!

We do!

Happy Wednesday Grovers!

P.S. Skandibird sent me in some Arsenal pictures from the weekend, which got me thinking... why don't we have a photo gallery? If you have any great pictures of games and grounds throughout the season, send them in and I'll post them up in the photo gallery... check it out here.

Also, if you have any tickets, please let me know, don't let them go to waste!

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It was disrespectful to the fans says Wenger. Wow! Is that an apology???

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No sorry Grovers, he was talking about the state of the Wembley pitch and not his dreadful team selection, it was someone else's fault.

Ok enough on that, it's gone, our big chance of domestic silverware went with the Wembley pitch, poor team selection, oh and of course Chelsea, who didn't disrespect their fans and played with a full strength side, what will he do tonight then? We can't afford to lose this one, at the very least we need a draw, with Everton and Villa still breathing down our necks.

A win on the other hand will close the gap and send us into the ManU game brimming with confidence.

So tonight we have Ade and Robin out with injuries, I wonder how they picked those up? Being as they did sweet FA to get them, but it could be a blessing in disguise, we still need to play 4-4-2 though as Eduardo is too small to sit up there alone and Bendtner isn't good enough to, but both of them together with Song and Cesc in midfield and Walcott and Arshavin on the flanks could do it.

We will have Sagna back and with Kolo, Silvestre and Gibbs along the back we have a chance, as I said before I don't blame Fabianski so I'm not concerned about him, if he does it again though, I may be.

What I don't want to see is a midfield that includes the hapless Eboue, Denilson or Diaby, if he leaves them out then I may believe he has learnt something and we have a chance, if I were Benitez I would be expecting 4-5-1 and a sub on 70 minutes, anything else may surprise them, they will be feeling confident, so we may just spring something on them.

They play better away from home and so do we, Cesc owes us a showing and they must know we cannot have another shocking performance if we are to salvage something out of this season.

If we have too many injuries, he could always try Ramsey, Wilshere or Thomas, now there's a novel thought!

As I said the other day, our great run didn't include playing anyone from the top 4 so this will show us whether we have enough for next season, I still think we can beat the Mancs because they are as strange as are this season, so they will also be concerned, but by beating the scousers, we will be sending out the right message.

I have said many times, it's not the losing, it's the manner in which we lose that hurts me.

So come on Arsenal, show us you're good enough, show us your teeth and get this season back on the road, if you don't I won't be looking forward to the summer, because something tells me we won't be killing Diaby, Denilson and Song.

I didn't say that by the way, Wenger did, for the second time this season I hope he plays Song, after the semi on Saturday it would be like having Pele in the side. If I had to pick my dream team I would play Nasri next to Cesc and have Song on the bench, but I didn't suggest it as I know he won't do that, Liverpool are the one team we could play against and field a team like that.

Win this one and we can start believing again, no history today, no rallying call, just get the job done, Arsenal and in particular Wenger, you owe us.

Ok so how will I end this positively?

SPIRIT OF 89 ARSENAL, THIS IS OUR ANNIVERSARY TOO, REMEMBER THE ADVERTISEMENT? GO SHOW THEM WHAT OUR KIDS DID THEN, DEFY THE ODDS, WIN AT ANFIELD, HISTORY IS ON OUR SIDE.

Have a great day Grovers, it only gets harder from tonight, I'll leave you with a little motivator (Cheers Gnarley).

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRmHrVhEegA&hl=en&fs=1]


Arsenal out of the FA cup, thank god, I was right!!!

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That headline was for all the numbnut AKB's out there that seem to think Le Grove are only happy when we lose. Here are some facts for you morons.

WE ARE DISTRAUGHT!

We are Arsenal fans first, whilst we are delighted to have Arsene Wenger as our manager we are fans of the club first and if we feel we need to disagree with the manger, then that's our right as fans, if we didn't question him, there would be no balance of the other point of view, we would all be agreeing with him and saying stuff like, who cares about the FA cup? We had a good run didn't we? And 4-5-1 nearly pulled it off, we only lost 2-1. This team doesn't get enough credit, loads of money but no credit. Yes I know the day cost me £250 and we lost, but I don't care, Arsene knows.

THERE ARE PLACES WHERE YOU AREN'T ALLOWED TO CRITICISE THE LEADER, CHINA, RUSSIA, CUBA... ENGLAND ISN'T ONE OF THEM.

But you know what, we're not, I was so traumatised after my Wembley trip after my initial Saturday evening rant I haven't read a paper, watched the sports news or entered into conversation with anyone, I didn't even comment on my own blog yesterday, why? Because we lost? No, it was the manner in which we lost, pathetic and disrespectful to every fan that watched.

The last time we played 4-5-1 in the FA Cup we beat the Mancs, it was the last time we played an FA cup final and it was dreadful, so have we learned from that? No, not a bit.

We have been saying all season that 4-5-1 wins nothing, 4-5-1 is fine if you don't want to lose, like an away game, but when you want to win, it's dumb.

Wigan, Villarreal away, I could go on, everytime we play it we're woeful, everytime we changed to 4-4-2 we are awesome, why do we always wait until the 70 something minute before we change??? Doesn't he realise that whoever he plays against knows he'll do that? And are ready?

When will he realise that Ade is just a lazy bastard who is only interested in moving on, running around trying to win the ball doesn't feature with him anymore, when will he realise that Eboue is just not good enough, just as I'm beginning to see Song is adding something he takes him off, yes I know I said I rated Diaby but after the first 45 he should have seen he wasn't cutting it and taken him off.

Why is it that our best player, the 6th best in the world, Andre Arshavin was on the bench? Did he think that the Chavs would think he had a brilliant master plan and run away, or did he think they would laugh their bollocks off.

Where is the apology for all the money us poor saps paid to see such an inept performance? Where is the 'I got it so wrong people and I'm sorry you spent so much'. All he did was blamed the pitch, as did Ferguson, didn't the chavs and the Toffees have to play on the same pitch? Didn't he go and look at it beforehand, don't England win all their games on it???

Yes we may well win the Champions league, but with a formation like that, only if they change the rules and let West Brom in the final. I was disappointed, I so looked forward to the game and he sent out a team that had little or no chance, if there are any fans out there that can defend that garbage, then you are not proper Arsenal fans, you are Arsene sheep.

Me, I know what I am, you should donate your salary to charity boss, at least let someone profit from that shocking display that aren't Chavs.

So tomorrow we play Liverpool, I can't get up for that just yet, but by tomorrow I'll be there, because that's what Arsenal fans do, they support the team, you know what Arsene, we don't get enough credit for that, perhaps you ought to say something.

Perhaps if you'd bought Alonso and a decent centre back in the summer we would have played better, perhaps you should start listening.

As far as Fabianski is concerned he's okay, the rest of the team should not have put him in the position where he had to come charging out, it's the same for a lot of our young players, they are just too young, we need a few older heads, and I don't mean as old as Silvestre, I mean a few like Arshavin and Rosicky (Yes he is still employed by Arsenal).

Have a great day Grovers, let's just hope that we remember how to play football again before we go to Anfield, at least they aren't as good there as they are away from home.

I wonder how many board members went home as devastated as we all did on Saturday? If any of them gave a rats arse they would have made Wenger buy some quality last summer, I have a feeling there will be some changes very soon. This can't go on for another year surely???

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